Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
Northern elders on Thursday broke their silence on the slamming of state of emergency in three of their states, describing the action of President Goodluck Jonathan as an indirect declaration of war on the Northern part of Nigeria.
The President’s action, which took the northern elders by surprise, is coming barely three weeks after Jonathan accepted a roadmap from the NEF on how to end the Boko Haram insurgency in parts of the north.
The elders had successfully impressed upon the Presidency to raise the Boko Haram committee to dialogue with the sect with a view to restoring elusive peace to the region. Jonathan, who met with the NEF leadership in Abuja in April, subsequently inaugurated the Turaki-led BH committee with a mandate to broker peace with the sect and compensate their victims within a two-month timeframe.
However, shortly after inaugurating the panel, the sect leadership rejected the amnesty offer, saying that it is the government that should seek amnesty for having killed its Muslim brothers across the country.
But a spokesman for the NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, who relayed the position of the group on Thursday, told Vanguard that they were disappointed by the sudden change of tactic by Jonathan on how to resolve the crisis in the north.
“It is very sad for us to see that the President has easily changed direction from dialogue and reconciliation to war in his bid to end the cycle of violence in the north,” Abdullahi said.